Missouri women’s basketball hits the road this weekend in search of a reset.
After three inconsistent performances at home left the Tigers at 1-2 to open the season for the first time since 2010, MU will play away from Columbia for the first time Saturday as it visits Green Bay.
“Maybe a shakeup right now is not bad,” coach Robin Pingeton said after Wednesday’s home loss to Northern Iowa, in which Missouri surrendered more than 75 points for the third straight game. “Maybe going on the road and getting away, and really having to rely on each other in that locker room and on that court, maybe that will be a good stepping stone for us.”
Four of the Tigers’ next five games are away from Mizzou Arena, so time will tell whether hitting the road really does help the team come together. Green Bay, however, will be no easy problem for MU to solve. The Phoenix are annually one of the top mid-major programs in the country, and they stunned then-No. 16 Missouri in Columbia last year.
“We’re definitely going to have our hands full,” Pingeton said. “Green Bay is a great team as usual, and it’s not going to be easy.”
Green Bay’s staggering consistency is highlighted by 42 consecutive winning seasons and 20 straight 20-win seasons. The Phoenix have a 73-10 non-conference record in the Kress Events Center, which opened in 2007. Green Bay finished second in the Horizon League last season, the team’s first time not earning a share of the conference title since 1997-98.
Karly Murphy led Green Bay (1-1) in the season’s opening week, totaling 42 points and 15 rebounds as the Phoenix defeated Central Michigan before losing to fellow mid-major power South Dakota. Frankie Wurtz, whose 16 points spearheaded Green Bay’s 2018 win at Mizzou Arena, is back for the Phoenix and was included in the preseason All-Horizon League first team.
A weak spot for Green Bay could be the team’s depth. The Phoenix only played nine players in the opening two games, with four averaging more than 30 minutes per contest. Missouri’s bench, particularly freshmen Aijha Blackwell and Hayley Frank, could be the difference if the Tigers are to come away with a win.
MU will again look to Amber Smith for contributions on the offensive end, and is on the cusp of witnessing a personal milestone for the senior guard. Smith is five points away from 1,000 for her career, and as Missouri’s top scorer with 22 points per game, she is almost certain to eclipse the mark Saturday.
Following Saturday’s game, Missouri will be at South Dakota on Wednesday for another road matchup against a team that claimed victory on Norm Stewart Court last year. Tipoff against the Phoenix will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and will be streamed live on ESPN+.